Thursday, February 16, 2017

Away From Home: A Working Parent's Guide to Keeping Children Safe

Once upon a time, I pictured myself always being home with the kids, never working outside the house, and just being there for them 24/7. Life happens, and even though I'm home with my kids most of the time, I'm a work at home mom most of the time, but also work out of the house on a semi regular basis. Keeping my kids safe while I'm out is definitely important to me, so these tips a reader sent me on how to keep your children safe when you're away is definitely well appreciated.

Parents would give everything to keep their children happy and out of harm’s way. However, not everyone has the luxury of just staying at home to take care of their kids. Most people have to work to provide for the needs of their children. Good thing there are ways to keep your little ones safe, despite not being able to oversee them 24/7. Here’s a brief guide for working parents out there:

Hire a Good Babysitter

It’s easy to overlook your babysitter’s background in your haste to look for someone to look after your children. Don’t. To ensure your child’s safety, it’s best to schedule a sit-down interview with your prospective babysitter to get to know more about her personality and character, and how prepared she is to take on the required tasks.

You can even do a background check on your babysitter using a people search site like MyLife. It compiles all the available information about the person you’re searching for on the web, so it’s a good time-saving tool for a busy parent like you.

If you’re hiring a babysitter for the first time, consider these things:

  • Make sure she knows how to do first aid and child CPR. Choking is one of the leading causes of death among infants, so knowing how to do a child-appropriate method of CPR is a must.
  • The babysitter should be older than 12 years old.
  • It’s better if to have two to three references who can vouch for each prospective babysitter.
  • More importantly, have them spend time with you and your kids first and see how it will go. Each family has different dynamics, so check first to see if she will be a good fit with yours.

Teach Your Child the Dos and Don’ts When He is Alone at Home

If you have an older child, you can do without a babysitter and leave him home alone by himself. But before you do so, do an honest assessment of your child first. If you think he shows careful thought in the decisions he makes, responsible enough to look after the house, and knows what to do in case of emergency, then you can freely leave him at home.

To test how your child will deal with being on his own, allow him to stay behind while you run a short errand near home. Give him a cellphone with your number on speed dial in case something goes wrong. This exercise will reveal how your kid will handle being home alone.
Also, tell your child that when someone calls, do not let that person know that you are not at home. Ask him not to post any status on Facebook or any social media sites that will reveal that he is not with anyone at home. Children are one of the primary targets of cyber criminals, and one post on the internet can have thieves and predators track where he lives and harm him.

Make Your Home Accident-Proof
You can also protect your children even when you’re not home by making sure their environment is safe and enables them to save themselves during emergencies. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Keep toxic substances like cleaning chemicals locked away and out of their reach.
  • Make sure nothing obstructs the stairways, hallways, and exits so that they can safely come out in the case of fire or any other emergency.
  • Keep flammable objects like paper and curtains away from appliances that can start a fire like ovens and stoves.
  • Place safety plugs on open outlets to reduce the risk of your child being electrocuted.
  • Put non-skid mats in bathrooms, poolsides, and other slippery areas.
  • If you have firearms at home, make sure that they are locked away somewhere beyond the reach of your child, and that they are not loaded with ammunition.
  • Lock away your medications. Younger kids may treat it like candy or their regular chewable multivitamin, which may lead to intoxication or overdose.

Leaving your child with a stranger or by himself as you work hard to make a living can be worrisome. But by following the tips discussed above, you can rest easy with the thought that your child will be well taken care of with or without your supervision.

What would you add to the list? Any things you do to keep your children safe while away that isn't already on this list? 

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